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140 Beckman Coulter jobs go as plant shuts after forty years

Dara Bradley

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The Beckman Coulter plant Galway to close

Beckman Coulter is to close its Galway operation with the loss of 140 jobs, after more than forty years’ association with the city.
The job losses at the Mervue multinational, medical devices company, was confirmed yesterday; it follows a month-long review of operations by its head office in the US.
Though the announcement was expected – staff fears for the plant were reported in our sister newspaper Connacht Sentinel last month – employees are still shell-shocked.
It is a hammer blow to the staff, coming close to Christmas, and to the city as a whole, where more than 10,000 people are already on the Live Register.
The biomedical company has had roots in Mervue since 1972. Many staff have up to 20 years service with the company, and a half dozen are so were due to retire this side of Christmas.
Employees were informed of the decision at a staff meeting at the plant on Thursday morning. The company said it is scaling back production and moving product development to other locations.
Up to 80 staff are to be offered redeployment to its plant in Clare. Management is engaging with unions. The axe has hung over Beckman Coulter in Mervue for some years now. In 2009, Beckham Coulter bought the former Olympus Diagnostics plant in Clare in a merger deal worth €630 million.
In 2011, the Galway operation got a stay of execution, when following a review of operations the company decided to stay put in Mervue.
It had been feared three years ago that the Galway operation would be shut and moved to Tulla, near Ennis – this has now come to pass.
The Clare facility is owned by Beckman but the Galway building is rented. The last review included both operations but this time round it is understood that just Galway was reviewed.
The last review carried out at the company in Galway involved local management but managers at Galway were not involved in the current review.
Labour Party Galway West TD, Derek Nolan, said it was “sad news for the workers”. “This is a big blow for them, their families, for Mervue and for Galway. There is a still uncertainty as to how many people will lose their jobs, but the number will be high. It is important now that everything is done to support those who have lost their jobs.”
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

€46,000 Lotto winner comes forward as deadline looms

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – The Knocknacarra winner of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus from the 12th of December has come forward to claim their prize, just two weeks before the claim deadline.

The winning ticket, which is worth €46,234, was sold at Clybaun Stores on the Clybaun Road on the day of the draw, one of two winners of the Lotto Match 5 + Bonus prize of €92,000.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery say we are now making arrangements for the lucky winner to make their claim in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Lotto jackpot for tomorrow night (27th February) will roll to an estimated €5.5 million.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Voice of ‘Big O’ reflects on four decades

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The daytime voice of Big O Taxis is celebrating four decades in the role – and she has no plans to hang up her headset any time soon.

Roisin Freeney decided to seek a job after staying at home to mind her three children for over a decade. It was 1981 when she saw an advert in the Connacht Sentinel for a dispatch operator.

The native of Derry recalls that the queue for the job wound its way past Monroe’s Tavern from the taxi office on Dominick Street.

“There was a great shortage of work back then. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the line of people. My then husband who was giving me a lift in never thought I’d get the job, he was driving on past and I said, let me off.

“I got it because I worked as a telephonist in the telephone exchange in Derry. But I was terrified starting off because I hadn’t been in the work system for so long.”

Back then Big O Taxis had only 25 drivers and just a single line for the public to book a cab.

“We had an old two-way radio, you had to speak to the driver and everybody could listen in. It was easy to leave the button pressed when it shouldn’t be pressed. People heard things they shouldn’t have – that’s for sure,” laughs Roisin.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of Róisín’s story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Baby boom puts strain on Galway City secondary schools

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A baby boom in the late 2000s has left parents of sixth class pupils in Galway City scrambling to find a secondary school place for their children next September – with over 100 children currently facing the prospect of rejection from city schools.

The Department of Education is now rushing to address the issue and confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was fully aware of increasing pressure and demand on city schools

Local councillor Martina O’Connor said there were 100 more children more than there were secondary school places for next year, and warned that this would put severe pressure on schools to increase their intake numbers.

“This will put a lot of pressure on schools because they will have been working out the number of teachers and what resources they would need in October or November last year and they could be facing a situation where they will be asked to take an additional eight or 10 students.

“There would normally be a small excess – maybe two or three – but this year, it’s over 100. There is a bigger number of children in sixth class this year and there will be the same issue for the next few years,” said the Green Party councillor.

A Department spokesperson said while there were capacity issues, factors other than numbers could be at play, adding that there were approximately 1,245 children in the city due to move onto secondary school in September.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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